Mike Yuen — Mike talks about bridge

Tom Gandolfo

Sorry to inform you our good friend Tom Gandolfo has passed away on the 19 th October 2009 after a lengthy illness. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to Leslie and family. 

From the Edmonton Journal.

GANDOLFO, Thomas (Tom) Albert June 22, 1943 – October 19, 2009 Thomas (Tom) Albert Gandolfo of Edmonton passed away at the age of 66 years after a valiant struggle with ALS. He leaves to remember him; his partner, Leslie; his children, Trevor, Tracy (Shane), Kyla (Wayne); his friend and the mother of his children, Diane; his daughter, Margaret (Mark); his grandchildren, Alix, Corbin, Nathan, Sydney, Marina and Shawn; mother, Ivy Gandolfo; sister, Margaret “Midge” (Brian). Predeceased by his father, Bert Gandolfo. Memorial Service Wednesday, October 28 at 3:30 p.m. at Park Memorial Chapel, 9709 – 111 Avenue. Cremation has taken place in the Park Memorial Crematorium. In lieu of other tributes, memorial donations may be made directly to the ALS Society of Alberta, Suite 410, Jasper Centre, 11456 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5K 0M1. To send condolences, visit www.parkmemorial.com Park Memorial Edmonton 780-426-0050 Family Owned Funeral Home, Crematorium, Reception Centre.


Tom Gandolfo

This article about Tom is reprinted from Edmonton Bridge Club site.

Tom was born in Vancouver B.C. but has lived in Edmonton for a long time, now with his significant other, Leslie Pettie. Tom was a successful businessman in the lumber business; he still runs a mill part-time but has essentially retired from the work force.  

Tom’s main hobby is bridge. As for activists outside bridge, he says “Not much now.  Golf once a year. Used to curl and play hockey a lot.”  Tom describes his start in bridge: “I played one game of bridge around 1975.  It was a regional at the Macdonald Hotel.  I knew this guy, Jack Smith, from one of the construction sites I worked on.  He was a bridge player and needed a partner for the Saturday game.  He knew I played a lot of cards and he talked me into playing.  On the way to the tournament he taught me Stayman, Blackwood and NT requirements.  I had no idea how we were doing but he was excited as hell. We actually qualified. That was it for my involvement in bridge until 1982 when I just walked into Peter Jones’s club.” 

As for his attitude or philosophy towards bridge Tom says, “As far as club games go, I’m not very serious.  I laugh and have a few drinks.  Other games such as CNTC, GNT, I try to play well.”  And play well he does.  Bob Crosby recalls playing with Tom in the 2003 CNTC in Pentiction. “Tom held ♠xx ♥x ♦KQ10xxx ♣KQJx.  I opened 2♣, vulnerable.  Tom replied 3♦ and I bid 3NT; Tom bid 4♣ and I responded 4♦, followed by Tom taking control of the hand and placing the contract in 7NT.  After the opening lead by Paul Thurston, Bob claimed 13 tricks without playing a card.  Paul’s teammates were in 3NT at the other table, so we won 17 IMPS.  Tom’s hand evaluation and judgment impressed Paul so much that he wrote up the hand in his bridge column in the National Post.”  Tom has had numerous successes at the national level, has won countless regional and sectional events, and is a very popular partner.  He says, “My favourite partners are Piotr Klimowicz, Kiz Fung, Maurice de la Salle, Susan Culham, Doug Deschner, Bob Crosby, and Debbie Corse, to name a few.”  Nobody would be surprised if Tom was on anyone’s list of favourite partners. Tom has a reputation of playing the hands “double dummy”.  In club games, you can often tell Tom’s pair number by the results on the score sheet: everyone is scoring -630, except for one -660.  That pair had the bad luck to defend the hand against Tom! 

Tom recently returned from the Detroit Nationals where he and his partner, Kiz Fung, were leading the NAOP at half time.  They eventually were 10thoverall, which attests to Tom’s skill at match points.  He recently returned from a regional in Lethbridge where he won 76 master points, plus funds to compete in the GNT super flight finals at Las Vegas this summer, having been on the winning zone team. Tom is a treasured member of the Edmonton bridge family.  His bridge skill and love of the game has no equal in these parts. 

To anyone contemplating learning the game of bridge, Tom says, “Just get in there and play.”  Tom lists his favourite tournaments as Victoria and Penticton.  Tom offers this advice to bridge players: “If you want to improve at a faster rate, work with the director and come down on weekends to play rubber bridge.  He will find you a suitable game at your level.  You play many more hands and when you’re sitting out you can watch the better players.  When I started, I just watched for a couple of months.  That was Peter Jones’s advice.  It worked.  Thanks, Peter.”    Boy, did it ever work!


MidgeOctober 20th, 2009 at 5:02 am

You knew Tom as a brilliant bridge player and friend. I knew him as a brother. I don’t think he was ever aware of how much I looked up to him , or how proud I was for all his accomplishments. I will miss him dearly. But he will always be my big brother. Nothing will ever change that.

Angela FentonOctober 20th, 2009 at 6:36 am

I feel so sad. Although I didn’t know Tom well he was always such a nice friendly person and

will be a great loss.

MichaelOctober 23rd, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Hi Midge,

My deepest sympathies. Tom was more then a good player, he was also a great person and a dear friend. He will be greatly missed.

alixandra gandolfoOctober 19th, 2012 at 5:23 am

my grandpa was a person who would always lift your spirits no matter the state of his situation, he brought me to meet so many great people at the bridge hall as i caddied there to spend more time with him, i will always love him dearly and he will always be in my heart. thank-you to all his friends whom we shared good laughs with.


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